Friday, December 30, 2011

Last Reads of 2011, or Books #78 and #79

I finished off the last bit of the year--the busy holiday time!--with two very different reads: a classic mystery (to make up for the nonsense that was the last mystery I read), and a children's graphic novel set in Wonderland post-Alice. Here are some brief details:

Murder on the Orient Express is one of Agatha Christie's classic mystery novels starring Hercule Poirot, Belgian detective extraordinaire. Poor Monsieur Poirot, even a simple trip back home from Persia turns into a murder mystery. When one of the passengers on Poirot's carriage of the Paris-bound Orient Express is murdered, the head of the company insists Poirot investigate. The premise is even more interesting and potentially menacing giving the fact that the train becomes stuck in the snow shortly after the murder is presumed to have been committed--meaning the murderer is likely still on the train. This limited set makes for a perfect backdrop to both Poirot's deductive investigative style and Christie's wonderfully adept mystery writing.

Wonderland, originally a series of comics written by Tommy Kovac and illustrated by Sonny Liew, is the graphic novel story of Mary Ann, the White Rabbit's housemaid, and the nonsensical and head-threatening situations she and her employer get into some time after the "Monster Alice" visited Wonderland. Mary Ann is something of a neat freak, and the White Rabbit is a bit irrational and twitchy, and the rest of the characters from Lewis Carroll's original tales are also present in a form slightly diluted from their originals. What seems like a totally pointless story ends up being a bit of a political commentary, though, which surprised me as I was reading--and I'm wondering if maybe that makes this graphic novel not a children's book after all, despite its being published by Disney. The art is really fun, however, with Liew paying homage to John Tenniel's well-loved illustrations. Not the best book to end the year with, but not a total loss for an Alice fan, either.

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